Successfully Forcing Spring Branches

Success!  Spring branches have been forced!  Here is an update on the branches taken from my yard back on Feb. 23rd, brought into the greenhouse and re-cut, stripped of the lower bark, and put into warm water.  The greenhouse was unheated when the branches were brought in, however now it is fully heated because planting season has arrived!  Hoo-ray!

The first branch to pop out was the pussy willow.  These branches are so reliable, and the large fuzzy buds with a pink cast are incredible.  Pussy willow branches are also easy to dry, just by keeping them out of water.  The second branch to pop was the forsythia.  Tiny (super small) green buds gave way to large yellow flowers seemingly overnight.  The forsythia is beautiful all on its own, as a focal/architectural look in a vase, or combined with other fresh flowers.  The Snowdrift crabapple branch now has tiny bright green leaves, but no flowers yet.  I’m going to wait and see if those buds turn to blooms.  Finally, the Star Magnolia has just lost its outer shell and blooms seem to be a day or so away.  I have not seen large results from the Saucer Magnolia, but I will not give up hope!  The force is with me!  And if I can do it, you can too.  Bring some of those outdoor branches in, prune a bit, add some water and see what happens.  The kids will enjoy watching the emergence of Spring!

Pussy Willow

Pussy willow was the first to be forced out of its winter shells. The fuzziness and light pink cast is just beautiful.


Forsythia stems were second to bloom. These popped out overnight, and took about two weeks. Notice the new baby plants and pots of dirt? We are starting to plant for Spring!


Snowdrift crabapple is showing plenty of bright green leaves, but no flowers yet. Still, what a beautiful color!


Star magnolia bud is just popping open after 18 days. I have a lot of hope that it will bloom in a day or two.


Forsythia in a perfect vase, with a contrasting blue color, deep and with a wide enough opening to hold large branches securely. Waukesha Floral has many new vases for Spring!


This is what my bucket of branches started as 18 days ago. Most of them have opened, which proves The Force can be with you too. Get outside and start pruning!

Magnolia Open

Update! In two short days, the Star Magnolia twig fully opened with these delightful fluffy white flowers.

Magnolia Twig

Magnolia Open 1

Lastly, the pretty pink saucer magnolia stem bloomed about 5 weeks after cutting it and beginning to force. Beautiful!

About the Author: jane